By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON – In sharp contrast to the lionization of General David Petraeus by members of the US Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus’s superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad in March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.
Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickenshit” and added, “I hate people like that,” the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior. That extraordinarily contentious start of Fallon’s mission to Baghdad led to more meetings marked by acute tension between the two commanders. Fallon went on to develop his own alternative to Petraeus’s recommendation for continued high levels of US troops in Iraq during the summer.